This Friday, Feb. 20th, I'll be reading at Seattle's Swedish Cultural Center at 7pm. Now, if you asked my Norwegian grandfather about this (pictured here), he probably would have said that "Swedish Cultural Center" was an oxymoron. Like any good Norwegian, he didn't like the Swedes.
If my book reading sets him spinning in his grave in Lakeview Cemetery, then so be it, because it turns out that the Swedish Cultural Center occupies a marvelous mid-century modern building on the east slope of Queen Anne Hill and has a bar in it with a view that rivals the one at nearby Canlis. You can almost see Lakeview Cemetery from there. They've been kind enough to invite me to read during their Friday Happy Hour, which means, as some friends of Mossback's have already figured out, that you can have a night of fine literature and your booze too. My grandfather would have heartily approved of that part anyway.
Admission is free and open to the public. Happy "Hour" runs from 5pm until 10pm and features a full bar (not just akavit) so you can have plenty to drink before, during and after the reading. There will be food too (Swedish hors d'oeuvres plates and entrees are $8 to $9). Non-drinkers are, of course, welcome as well. Books will also be on sale, and I'll sign them with my family's original, Swedish-sounding last name if you'd like, just to commemorate this moment of ethnic reconciliation. This should be a really fun event and I hope you can come. If you like it, you can join the Swedish club for only $45 per year and come back on a regular basis.
Next week, I'll be appearing at Town Hall with author Timothy Egan (Feb. 25). It won't be a reading but rather an on-stage discussion/debate about local issues, moderated by David Brewster. I'll post details on that later. No full bar, however.
(PS: The photo of my grandfather, the first of our line of four Knute Bergers, appeared in the book Norwegian Seattle by Kristine Leander. Kristine is the Cultural Director of the Swedish Cultural Center, showing her commitment to bridging the enormous gap between the two peoples. Her book is a scrapbook of local Nordic heritage and I heartily recommend it.)